ONE-DAY SELF-GUIDED ECO-EXCURSIONS THAT YOU CAN GET TO BY MASS TRANSIT. NO CARS!

NEW YORK: GreenDaycations in New York City, the five boroughs, New Jersey and Upstate New York starting from the hub of Penn Station on the New York side and Secaucus Junction station on the New Jersey side. All welcome . . . especially coyotes!

KAYAKING IN THE MEADOWLANDS – VERY CLOSE: ABOUT A HALF-HOUR FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

The “Real” Meadowlands

8,400 acres of protected wetlands surrounded by Manhattan, Newark and Jersey City; a tidal estuary where you can kayak/canoe (available for rent) and take eco-cruises at the mouth of the Hackensack River, supporting 250 species of nesting and migratory birds and other aquatic and land animals

Directions: 15-minute NJTransit train from Manhattan’s Penn Station to Secaucus Junction/Lautenberg Station in Secaucus, NJ (just one stop from Manhattan; multiple train lines will get you there) or many NJTransit trains on the New Jersey side will get you to Secaucus Junction. From the concourse, take the elevator to street located left of the gates for the Northeast Corridor Line (Tracks 1-2). After exiting the elevator, exit the station through the door to your right. Once outside, walk to your right and follow the walkway toward the elevator/stair tower at New County Rd. Climb the stairs to the top of the bridge and turn left onto New County Rd. Walk about 1/3 mile into Laurel Hill Park.

WOODS, WILDLIFE AND WETLANDS – VERY CLOSE: ABOUT A HALF-HOUR FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Teaneck Creek Conservancy

A 46-acre wildlife refuge, woods and wetlands with a 1.8-mile trail, including migration mileposts and a labyrinth garden. A reclaimed ecological gem.

Directions: Take NJTransit bus #167 (about 30 minutes from Port Authority) to Teaneck Road and Puffin Way, walk down the hill and you’re there!

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SNAKE HILL – VERY CLOSE: ABOUT A HALF-HOUR FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

[Warning: access may currently be limited due to construction.]

Snake Hill

Towering 150 feet above the Meadowlands, Snake Hill is accessed from Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus, NJ.

Directions: 15-minute NJTransit train from Manhattan’s Penn Station to Secaucus Junction/Lautenberg Station in Secaucus, NJ (just one stop from Manhattan; multiple train lines will get you there) or many NJTransit trains on the New Jersey side will get you to Secaucus Junction. From the concourse, take the elevator to street located left of the gates for the Northeast Corridor Line (Tracks 1-2). After exiting the elevator, exit the station through the door to your right. Once outside, walk to your right and follow the walkway toward the elevator/stair tower at New County Rd. Climb the stairs (or take the elevator) to the top of the bridge and turn left onto New County Rd. Walk about 1/3 mile into Laurel Hill Park.

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THE PALISADES, MANHATTAN VIEWS ACROSS THE HUDSON – CLOSE: ABOUT ONE HOUR FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Palisades Interstate Park

Located on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge, this is among the most easily accessed GreenDaycations. The Palisades tower above the Hudson River. Paths through the woods at the top provide panoramic views of Manhattan, and paths at the base lead to peaceful hikes along the water’s edge. The 2,500 acres of the New Jersey section of the park include 30 miles of hiking trails, two public boat basins, four picnic areas and three scenic overlooks. Six cross-country ski trails can also be used by hikers.

Directions: (from Manhattan): take the A train to 175th Street, walk through the tunnel to the George Washington Bridge bus terminal, go up the stairs to your left immediately upon exiting the tunnel, exit the building and follow signs to walk across the bridge walkway (open 6am to midnight). On the New Jersey side of the bridge, walk to the sign with the picture of a bicycle and the number 9 on it, cross to the other (northern) side of the bridge and go up the stairs to Palisades Interstate Park. (Many buses on the New Jersey side will take you to the George Washington Bridge/Bridge Plaza as well.)

WAVE HILL – CLOSE: ABOUT ONE HOUR FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Wave Hill: New York Public Garden and Cultural Center

“By the time you leave Wave Hill your spirit will be renewed,” our shuttle bus driver told us. He was right! Overlooking the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades, Wave Hill is 28-acres of botanical gardens and art exhibits that are beyond description.

Directions:  Free van service to the front gate from the terminus of the #1 subway at W.242d St. (in front of the Burger King at 10 minutes past the hour from 9:10am to 4:10pm; returns from the front gate on the hour from noon until 5pm)  and the Metro-North Railroad Riverdale station (meets northbound trains at 45 minutes past the hour from 9:45am to 4:45pm; returns from the front gate at 20 minutes past the hour from 12:20pm to 5:20pm).

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STORM KING ART CENTER – CLOSE: ABOUT ONE HOUR FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Storm King Art Center

This widely celebrated sculpture park, has welcomed visitors from across the globe for fifty years. It is located only one hour north of New York City, in the lower Hudson Valley, where its pristine 500-acre landscape of fields, hills, and woodlands provides the setting for a collection of more than 100 carefully sited sculptures created by some of the most acclaimed artists of our time

Directions: Coach USA (Short Line Bus) offers day packages to Storm King, leaving from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City. Please visit coachusa.com or call 800-631-8405. From Penn Station take the subway to 42nd Street Port Authority, and head to the Short Line kiosks and Customer Travel reception desks.

A 568-ACRE MOUNTAINTOP OASIS – CLOSE: ABOUT ONE HOUR FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Garret Mountain Reservation

A 568-acre mountaintop oasis 500 feet above sea level atop the urban setting of Paterson, NJ, with panoramic views of the New York City skyline from Staten Island to Westchester! Hiking and mountain biking. Horseback riding lessons and bridle-path riding are available from the Garret Mountain Equestrian Center.

Directions: NJTransit train from Manhattan’s Penn Station to Secaucus Junction/Lautenberg Station in Secaucus, NJ (just one stop from Manhattan; multiple train lines will get you there). Secaucus Junction Main/Bergen train line in New Jersey to Paterson, BICYCLE 20 minutes uphill through industrial urban blight but worth the ride! Head west on Federal Plaza/Ward St. toward Railroad Ave., turn left at Railroad Ave., turn right at 20th Ave., turn left at Spring St., turn right at Weiss St., turn left at Chadwick St., turn right at Braun St., turn left at County Rd./Marshall St., slight right at Valley Rd., turn right at Fenner Ave., turn left at Mountain Park Rd., continue onto Weasel Drift Rd., slight right at Park Rd. to Garret Mountain Reservation. It sounds like a lot of turns, but they are all short streets. Friendly warning: The trails are better marked than the street signs of Paterson.

HENRY HUDSON 24-MILE TRAIL – NOT TOO FAR: LESS THAN TWO HOURS FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Henry Hudson Trail

Former railroad converted to paved 10-foot-wide, 24-mile-long biking and hiking trail, northern section from Aberdeen, NJ, to Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and southern section from Freehold, NJ, to Marlboro, NJ, and Aberdeen, NJ.

Directions: Take NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line train to Matawan (50 minutes), BICYCLE or walk about a mile, from train station, make right onto Lower Main St., right onto Gerard Ave. just after crossing over Garden State Pkwy., Henry Hudson Trail will be on your left at Broadway. Henry Hudson Trail County Park is in Leonardo, NJ, and Gateway National Park, Highlands, NJ, is at the 12-mile mark.

MCFAUL 81-ACRE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY – NOT TOO FAR: LESS THAN TWO HOURS FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

James A. McFaul Environmental Center

The 81-acre wildlife sanctuary in Wyckoff, NJ, offers nature programs and workshops. The site includes a waterfowl pond, bird shelters, a boardwalk, nature trail, memorial gazebo and natural science exhibits.

Directions: NJTransit train from Manhattan’s Penn Station to Secaucus Junction/Lautenberg Station in Secaucus, NJ (just one stop from Manhattan; multiple train lines will get you there). 35-minute NJTransit train from Secaucus (or Hoboken) to Ridgewood Station on the Main/Bergen County line in New Jersey toward Suffern (beware, the last train back is at 2:15pm). From Ridgewood Station, BICYCLE 30 minutes to 150 Crescent Ave., Wyckoff, NJ—head southwest on Garber Square toward W. Ridgewood Ave., Garber Square turns right and becomes W. Ridgewood Ave (0.7 mi.)., continue onto Franklin Ave. (0.6 mi.), turn right at Godwin Ave. (1.5 mi.), turn right on Crescent Ave. to James A. McFaul Environmental Center.


BERGEN COUNTY’S LARGEST PARK WITH 4,000 ACRES – NOT TOO FAR: LESS THAN TWO HOURS FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Ramapo Valley County Reservation

With more than 4,000 acres, Bergen County’s largest park area features hiking and camping along trails that connect to Ringwood State Park, Skylands Manor and Hawk Rock. Tent camping allowed in designated areas (call 201-327-3500 for permits and rules). Canoe/kayak access to Ramapo River. Cross-country skiing.

Directions: NJTransit train from Manhattan’s Penn Station to Secaucus Junction/Lautenberg Station in Secaucus, NJ (just one stop from Manhattan; multiple trains will get you there). One-hour NJTransit tain from Secaucus (or Hoboken) to Mahwah Station on the Main/Bergen County line in New Jersey toward Suffern, NY, (warning: not all trains leaving Secaucus and/or Hoboken stop in Mahwah, check schedule). From Mahwah Station, BICYCLE less than one hour to Ramapo Valley County Reservation, Mahwah, NJ—head southeast on  Scherer Pl. toward Sherer Pl. (220 ft.), turn right at Ramapo Ave. (0.3 mi.), turn right at Island Rd. (285 ft.), turn left at W. Ramapo Ave. (108 ft.), turn right at W. Ramapo Ave. (0.2 mi.), turn right at Ridge Rd. (220 ft.), turn left at W. Ramapo Ave. (0.4 mi.), turn left at US 202/US 206/Ramapo Valley Rd. (about 1.5 mi.) to stone pillar gateway entrance on your right to Ramapo Valley County Reservation.


CAMPGAW MOUNTAIN RESERVATION – NOT TOO FAR: LESS THAN TWO HOURS FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Campgaw Mountain Reservation

Hiking, skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, archery, disc golf, picnicking, and camping (April to November in rustic campsites, some with lean-tos), in a 1,373-acre wooded park.

Directions: NJTransit train from Manhattan’s Penn Station to Secaucus Junction/Lautenberg Station in Secaucus, NJ (just one stop from Manhattan; multiple train lines will get you there). One-hour NJTransit train from Hoboken or Secaucus to Mahwah Station on the Main/Bergen County line in New Jersey toward Suffern, NY, (warning: not all trains leaving Hoboken and/or Secaucus stop in Mahwah, check schedule). From Mahwah Station, BICYCLE 30 minutes to Campgaw Mountain Reservation, Mahwah, NJ—head southeast on Scherer Pl. toward Sherer Pl., turn right at Ramapo Ave. (0.3 mi.), turn right at Island Rd., turn left at W. Ramapo Ave., turn left toward W. Ramapo Ave., turn right at W. Ramapo Ave., turn right at Ridge Rd., turn left at W. Ramapo Ave., turn left at US-202 S/US 206 S/Ramapo Valley Rd. (1.5 mi.) turn left at Darlington Ave., slight right at Campgaw Rd. (1.2 mi.), turn right at Fike Rd. (0.7 mi.) to Campgaw Mountain Reservation.


HUDSON RIVER KAYAKING – NOT TOO FAR: LESS THAN TWO HOURS FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN

Hudson River Kayaking

Explore historic Hudson River with Hudson River Recreation, the largest guided sea kayak company in Westchester County with trips on the Hudson River and Tarrytown Lakes. Learn the local history on three-hour guided tours.

Directions: Metro-North Hudson Line to Croton Harmon Station in New York; exit the station into the parking lot, make a left out of the parking lot, make a left into Croton Point Park (over the railroad tracks) and walk approximately 20 minutes to Croton Point Park, Croton Point Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson, NY.


APPALACHIAN TRAIL (BY TRAIN!) – NOT SO CLOSE BUT WORTH IT: MORE THAN TWO HOURS FROM MANHATTAN

Appalachian Trail

Metro-North Railroad’s Harlem line takes you to the Appalachian Trail in Dutchess County, NY.  It is the only train station along the entire trail. South of the station the trail crosses a swampy area and then climbs a smaller ridge.

Directions: Two trains leave in the morning from Grand Central Station to the Appalachian Trail station on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, and three trains return in the afternoon and early evening.

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